Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media | January 23, 2022
The California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (RIPA Board) released its annual report on policing in December. It revealed that People “perceived as Black were searched at 2.2 times the rate of people” appearing as White.
Additionally, law enforcement officers in the state searched a total of 6,622 more people perceived as Black than those perceived as White, the report states. Also of note, those perceived to be Black adolescents between 15 to 17 years old were searched at nearly six times the rate of those perceived as White youth.
“In addition to providing a detailed analysis of the policing activities of 58 law enforcement agencies, this year’s report provides much-needed context on the negative physical, emotional, and mental health consequences experienced by students and the broader communities that are most often the subject of those activities,” said RIPA board member Melanie Ochoa, Co-Chair of the Board and Director of Police Practices at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
RIPA Board is a diverse group of 19 members representing the public, law enforcement, and educators. It was formed in 2016 when Assembly Bill (AB) 953, the “Racial and Identity Profiling Act,” was passed. The bill was authored by Shirley Weber, California Secretary of State, when she was an Assemblymember representing the 79th District in the greater San Diego area. The board’s charge is to “eliminate racial and identity
profiling and improve diversity and racial and identity sensitivity in law enforcement,” according to language included in AB 953.
“California remains at the forefront of the nation in examining police stop data,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Over the last several years, we’ve collected and analyzed information on nearly 12 million police encounters in our state.”
The current report, sheds light on a study of millions of vehicular and pedestrian stops conducted from Jan. 1, 2021, to Dec. 31, 2021, by 58 law enforcement agencies in California — a notable expansion from the 18 participating agencies documented in the previous report released by RIPA last July.
At the conclusion of a stop, officers are required to report the outcome such as no action taken, warning or citation given, or arrest. For individuals perceived as Black, the 2023 report stated, officers reported “no action taken” approximately 2.2 times as often as they did for individuals viewed as White. The report concluded that there is an indication that a higher rate of those stopped who were perceived as Black were not actually engaged in unlawful activity.
In addition, Black children and adolescents (10 to 14 and 15 to 17 years old) were detained curbside or in a patrol car, searched, or handcuffed during a higher percentage of stops than any other combination of perceived race or ethnicity and age groups.
The report also details that law enforcement officers used force against people perceived as Black at 2.2 times the rate of individuals perceived as White. For those perceived as Latino, officers used force against them at 1.3 times the rate of individuals perceived as White.
Fifty-eight agencies reported over 3.1 million stops during the data collection 12-month study, with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) conducting the most stops of any single agency (54.9%). In addition, individuals perceived to be Hispanic/Latinos (42.4%), White (30.7%), or Black (15.0%) comprised the majority of stopped individuals.
“Coupled with a strong set of evidence-based recommendations to the Legislature, local jurisdictions, and policing agencies, such as an end to pretext stops and consent searches, our hope is that this year’s report will continue to push California towards building communities that are safer for all,” Ochoa stated.
The Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), a coalition of over 77,000 public safety workers in more than 950 associations, released its own study, which refutes the RIPA Board’s report.
PORAC’s 2023 annual report, “A Critical Analysis” by Dr. Brian L. Withrow, dated Jan. 2, 2023, states that “California is experiencing a public safety crisis” while “law enforcement departments are understaffed, underfunded, and underappreciated.”
“Unfortunately, California’s Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (RIPA) has pursued an inherently flawed approach to assessing police stop data that both misrepresents the data itself and misleads the public to believe things that simply are not true,” Withrow said. “Californians deserve appropriate scrutiny of officer behavior, but they also deserve the truth. To do otherwise would only sow further division between law enforcement and the communities they risk their lives every day to serve.”
To date, the traffic stop data made available by the RIPA Board is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive collection effort under which all state and local law enforcement agencies will be required to report to the California Department of Justice by April 1, 2023.
In addition to providing an in-depth look into policing in 2021, the Board’s report lists a wide range of recommendations related to policing, with a focus on the impact of pretextual stops, law enforcement interactions with youth, civilian complaint processes, and training on racial and identity profiling.
The RIPA Board insists that the report is consistent with the disparities observed in prior years’ data with respect to perceived race, gender, and disability status.
“California is leading the nation in its effort to collect data on police-citizen interactions and to foster transparency and make progress towards fair, equitable, effective policing,” said Steven Raphael, Co-Chair of the Board and Professor of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. “Data collected under RIPA provides important information to the public, to
legislators, and to law enforcement to guide policy and practice throughout the state.”
For more on RIPA and other criminal justice data, members of the public are encouraged to visit OpenJustice, a California Department of Justice, data-driven public initiative that works to increase access to criminal justice data and support the development of public policy.
Data Collecting Discrepancies Mean Police Profiling of African Americans Is Being Underreported
Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media | Posted: August 22, 2022
At its last meeting, the California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (RIPAB) discussed the discrepancies in the racial profiling data reported by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD).
RIPAB co-chair Melanie P. Ochoa told her board colleagues that there is “sufficient evidence” that data concerning police stops are not being reported by LASD as required by Assembly Bill (AB) 953.
Ochoa said that “over 50,000 self-initiated stops” were “not captured as Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) data.” Deputies “failed to report over 18,000 consent searches,” and “over 25,000” or 37% of backseat detentions were not filed.
“It’s a big deal,” said Ochoa, a staff attorney for Criminal Justice and Police Practices at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California. “The overall trends may be accurate but it’s really scary how much certain communities are impacted by this.”
The Los Angeles County Office of the Inspector General (OIG) confirmed data was missing in its June 10 Underreporting of Civilian Stop Data to the California Attorney General report.
OIG reported that LASD’s Sheriff’s Automated Contact Reporting System (SACR) which supplies data to RIPA and its Computer Aided Dispatch System (CAD) which tracks patrol-related contacts run independently and do not communicate information.
The SACR system underreported observation-based stops by at least 50,731 entries and underreported reasonable-suspicion stops by 8,625 entries. Reasonable suspicion stops are made by deputies when they suspect a person is engaging in criminal activity.
RIPAB learned about the LASD missing information about 6 months after it released its fifth annual report that found Blacks or African Americans were searched 2.4 times more than Whites in 2020.
Information from agencies reporting data showed law enforcement officers used force against Blacks 2.6 times more than White people.
Board member Lawanda Hawkins, founder of Justice for Murdered Children (JMC) said, “I am concerned that the data received from the biggest (law enforcement) agency in the state is inaccurate. It makes you question all of it. If they are not giving us all the stops…. there’s a problem. And what is the repercussion if they don’t do it?”
AB 953, the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015, requires California law enforcement agencies to report data to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on all vehicle and pedestrian stops, and citizen complaints alleging racial and identity profiling. AB 953 was authored by
Assemblywoman Dr. Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), currently the Secretary of State.
On July 1, 2018, the eight largest law enforcement agencies, began collecting stop data and reporting the information to DOJ. According to Attorney General Rob Bonta California is now one of the leaders in the country in collecting and analyzing police traffic stops.
“To date, the state has provided the public with an in-depth look into nearly 9 million police stops. This information is critical and these annual reports continue to provide a blueprint for strengthening policing that is grounded in the data and the facts,” Bonta said.
RIPAB is a diverse group of 19 members representing the public, law enforcement, and educators. Their charge is to eliminate racial and identity profiling, and improve diversity and racial and identity sensitivity in law enforcement.
Ochoa said the missing RIPA data could have a “significant” effect on people’s lives in terms of litigation, policy change, and potential intervention programs, and implementation of Assembly Bill (AB) 2542, the California Racial Justice Act (CRJA).
CRJA prohibits the state from seeking or obtaining a criminal conviction, or from imposing a sentence, based upon race, ethnicity, or national origin.
“There should be an acknowledgment of missing data and the direction this missing data is probably (going). It’s just
not randomly missing. It’s just missing in a way to suggest that there are more certain things happening than being reported,” Ochoa said.
Bill Ayub, Ventura County Sheriff and the California State Sheriff’s Association representative on the Board said there could be many reasons why the absent information was not entered as RIPA data.
The report shows that in December 2020 LASD was aware of issues with SACR system data and assured OIG that “steps would be taken” to prevent misreporting of stop data to the DOJ.
But a year later, LASD “conceded” that the department was not “in compliance with RIPA requirements” due to the system being outdated. The CAD system was implemented in the 1980s and is running on hardware and software that are no longer supported by the manufacturer.
Ayub warned that there should be “a word of caution” when considering the data.
“If you look at arrests by my agency you would see far fewer RIPA entries for arrests than arrests that actually occur. Court-ordered remands, warrants that appear for people that are already in custody, and in-custody incidents that result in arrest are all incidents that would not trigger RIPA reporting,” Ayub told the Board.
RIPAB’s latest report analyzes millions of vehicles and pedestrian stops conducted Between Jan. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2020, by 18 law enforcement agencies. All state and local law enforcement agencies will be required to report stop data to the California DOJ by April 1, 2023.
About 40 million people live in California, according data from the state’s Department of Finance. 2.25 million African Americans live in the state (about 6.5%).
Reporting agencies made over 2.9 million stops during the stop data collection period, with the California Highway Patrol conducting the most stops of any single agency (57.7%). Law enforcement officers searched 18,777 more people perceived as Black than those perceived as White
The law enforcement agencies reporting 2020 RIPA data were the Police Departments serving Bakersfield, Davis, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose; the Sheriff’s Departments of Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, Sacramento County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County; and the California Highway Patrol.
LASD is the largest sheriff’s department in the world with nearly 10,000 deputies serving almost 10 million people. San Francisco has a population of 888,305 with 2,140 sworn officers and San Diego has 1,415 residents and 1,887 sworn officers.
Governor Newsom Takes Action to Further Restrict Ghost Guns and Protect California Kids from Gun Violence
CVV News-Posted: July 1, 2022
Governor Newsom signs bills prohibiting gun industry from advertising to kids and restricting ghost guns
Latest nation-leading action to protect Californians from gun violence adds to decades of California leadership on gun safety
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed legislation to take on the gun industry and get more guns off California streets. Gun violence is the leading cause of death among children in the U.S.
“From our schools to our parks to our homes, our kids deserve to be safe – in California, we’re making that a reality. As the Supreme Court rolls back important gun safety protections and states across the country treat gun violence as inevitable, California is doubling down on commonsense gun safety measures that save lives,” said Governor Newsom. “The lives of our kids are at stake and we’re putting everything on the table to respond to this crisis.”
The legislation signed Thursday directly targets the gun lobby and manufacturers that are preying on our children.
Governor Newsom signed AB 2571, prohibiting marketing of firearms to minors following recent efforts by the gun industry to appeal to minors, like Wee 1 Tactical advertising the sale of a JR-15, an AR-15 meant for kids, complete with cartoon child skulls with pacifiers.
“Guns are not toys – they are deadly weapons,” said Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda). “California has some of the strongest gun laws in the country and it is unconscionable that we still allow advertising weapons of war to our children. Our kids have a right to live long, happy lives, free of gun violence.”
Also Thursday, the Governor signed AB 1621, which further restricts ghost guns – firearms that are intentionally made untraceable – as well as the parts used to build them. Ghost guns have been called an “epidemic” by the Los Angeles Police Department, contributing to more than 100 violent crimes in Los Angeles last year alone.
“Alarmingly, we are finding that more and more, no region or demographic is exempt from gun violence – our hospitals, grocery stores, schools, and even places of worship, are no longer safe. The proliferation of ghost guns, which are intentionally untraceable weapons to evade law enforcement, has only worsened the issue,” said Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson). “Following the signing of AB 1621 into law, I applaud Governor Gavin Newsom for his leadership and unwavering commitment to eradicate the rampant wildfire of gun violence currently ravaging our streets and safe-havens.”
Earlier this month, Governor Newsom announced a record $156 million in gun violence prevention grants provided as part of the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program (CalVIP). The funding will support 79 cities and nonprofit organizations that are implementing anti-violence programs suited to the unique needs of their local communities.
California’s gun safety policies save lives and provide a national model for other states to follow. According to the Giffords Law Center, in 2021, California was ranked as the top state in the nation for gun safety. As California strengthened its gun laws, the state saw a gun death rate 37 percent lower than the national average. Meanwhile, other states such as Florida and Texas, with lax gun regulations, saw double-digit increases in the rate of gun deaths. As a result of the actions taken by California, the state has cut its gun death rate in half and Californians are 25 percent less likely to die in a mass shooting compared to people in other states.
A recent study from the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis found that California’s red flag law was used to stop 58 threatened mass shootings.